The Woman Who Lived – New Who Season 9 Episode 6 Review

Spoilers…

We open on what looks like a stagecoach robbery and flash over to the Doctor stepping out of the TARDIS tracking something.  This is the second part of the previous episode, so I’m expecting to see out “little girl” appear again.  Think she’ll be all grown up or still a child?

As usual, the Doctor mucks things up and accidentally lands in the middle of the robbery.  Whatever he was tracking was on the stagecoach, and he let it get away while arguing with the robber.  I noticed he said something about Clara being on holiday, so perhaps she’s not in this episode, which seems strange.  Anywho, the robber is our little Ashildr, and yes, she’s still a little girl.  Turns out she’s learned how to use a man’s voice when she wants, which is creepy…

She seemed disappointed that the Doctor didn’t come for her.  Maybe we’re setting up for our next companion?  Probably just for this episode… So we find out that Ashildr is 800 years old, and simply robs people for the excitement.  She has all kinds of money and a house with a servant.  Seems she’s bored, and a companion’s life *is* full of adventure.

And quite quickly, she actually asks to go.  Says she’s seen and done it all on Earth and can’t even remember most of it.  After all, she has a human brain and has lived much longer than a human ever should.  She’s pompous and arrogant but still sad.  She also knows way more about the Doctor than she should, and come comments lead me to believe she’d be willing to steal the TARDIS if given the opportunity.

She says she’ll help him find what he’s looking for and they’ll leave in an hour.  The Doctor reads her diaries to discover that she was once a wife, a mother.  She lost her love and her children and vowed to be alone to never suffer the pain again.  To avoid the heartbreak she hardened herself, much like many of us do.  Only things aren’t exactly as they seems.  Ashildr goes and visits her creature outside and eludes to some sort of plan.

Our duo goes to break into a house to find some artifact they’re both looking for, and we see the return of the sonic sunglasses.  Damn.  I was really hoping they were gone.  We also find she’s not used the second immortality charge.  Very quickly they find “The Eyes Of Hades”, which is a pretty ominous name.

They sneak out, only to get held up at gunpoint, then get out of that.  The Doctor discovers Ashildr’s “friend” Leandro.  Leandro was stuck on Earth and needs the amulet to escape.  They need to kill someone to make it work and Clayton the servant is the planned sacrifice.  The Doctor intervenes and gets himself captured while Ashildr decides to get her sacrifice at an execution instead.  Maybe there’s a bit of good left in her.

The Doctor talks (bribes) his way out of captivity and arrives just in time to start helping the condemned man entertain the crowd, then step in with his psychic paper and claim it’s a pardon.  It worked until Ashildr uses the amulet on him… so much for the good in her.  But the portal opens and it’s not an escape but an invasion.  Ashildr realizes she’s not as hard as she thought she was.

It’s hurtful, isn’t it?  It’s infuriating.  You think you don’t care, then you fall off the wagon.” – The Doctor

The only way to stop this, to close the portal, is to reverse the death of the man causing it.  Sam Swift, our condemned man… And we have an immortality charge which hasn’t been used.  Bingo.  So is he immortal now?  Is he not?  Who knows…

The Doctor chats with Ashildr and explains that he can’t take her because they need normal people around them to keep them grounded.  We even got a nod back to Captain Jack in the conversation.  They’re friends, and she plans to clean up the mess he keeps leaving behind.  I think it’s possible that this won’t be the last time we see her.

Sure enough, in the very next scene Clara comes to see the Doctor with a selfie from one of her students.  There, in the background, Ashildr.

This episode to me was mostly a reminder of who the Doctor is.  Who he turns people into, what he causes, and how people around him die.  There seemed to be a lot of foreshadowing to later episodes where we will perhaps see the demise of Clara and another appearance of Ashildr.  This entire episode basically felt like “something’s coming”.

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